Friday, June 5, 2020

Time to Examine Your Spiritual Blood Type!

Welcome back to our study into the Book of Revelation and we are taking another look at the Church of Thyatira, the church had pretty much let down its guard and wanted to blend itself with the world. We certainly see that happening not only in churches from the past, but churches even today. What we need to remember is that even though these letters were written to the churches of Asia Minor, they are also a letter to the lives of Christian believers of today. Have you let down your guard, wanting to blend into the world around you? Jesus has something to say to you through this letter to the church of Thyatira today.

How much trouble do we get into when we let the world come into our lives and begin to influence us? People today are more concerned with how cool a church can be rather than how relevant it can be. You might say your church is relevant today, but I would ask you to define what makes it relevant or cool? You never compromise for one thing to be relevant. If you want to be effective, you want to be different. Be wary of a church that looks like the world, acts like the world. That is a dangerous place to be and one that takes a step downward to the slippery slope. The church of Thyatira was a sick and dying church.

The city of Thyatira was a tremendous place. They produced an abundant amount of wool. They had an incredible amount of textile industries for dying material and fabrics. They had the first known union of the Roman Empire. It was a wool worker's union. Because so much wool, fabric and material was produced there it made them extremely affluent. It was a very beautiful town in comparison to the other cities we have studied, but they were very resourceful. If you had any clothing made from Thyatira, it would have been very colorful. That is what they were known for, abundant colors in their fabric and material. Armani, Gucci and other top designers would have been based there. It was a real place, it had a real church and it was a place of affluence that could be found there.

But some things went on there that led to some very serious indictments from Jesus Christ. When He says in His opening statement, "I am the Son of God and I have these eyes of fire and feet of brass." You've got to learn this practice so you can do it next week and that is "Why did Jesus say that?" "Why did He say that to this church?" Well, when He said that He was the Son of God, it was said and taught in the city of Thyatira that there were other ways to God. The church began to adapt those other avenues. Could you imagine what would happen in the 21st century if someone walked into a church and the man behind the pulpit said, "Welcome all of God's children!" It sounds nice doesn't it?  But it is not exactly accurate according to the Bible. "Welcome all of God's children, no matter what you believe. We are all God's children. All roads lead to heaven. It doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere in that belief. God will look upon your sincerity and evaluate that level of sincerity." The word judge or judgment would never be used. Sin would never be mentioned and there would never be a gospel message preached with the word repentance in it. There is no such thing as the gospel without the word repentance in it!!!

The first word of the gospel is repent, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. A lot of people go around and simply say, "Just believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." That is a half truth. You need to understand why you are turning away from your sin and the world and you're fleeing to Jesus Christ. It's a very important thing! Be careful of the subtle things that are being left out in a spiritual context because the Church of Thyatira had departed from the Bible that they had and they didn't preach the full counsel of God. When you don't do that, you embrace all kinds of things from the world. Just so you can look good, not ruffle any feathers or cause any waves. This is a dangerous thing!

Jesus says, "I am the Son of God" so you ask that question, "Why did He say that?" Because His very presence in the church was being challenged by a doctrine of belief that is called Jezebel. He says, "I've got the eyes that are holy and pure. My feet exercise judgment." He says,  "I walking in the midst of the church and I am the Son of God. I see with perfect vision into the heart of every human being and every person in this church, I am looking at you and I see exactly what is in your heart. I know if your doctrine is true or not. And by the way, My feet are like polished brass, that is I am the One who stands in perfect judgment and I will either reconcile your case before God and once again set you on firm ground, firm doctrine and truth or you will experience My judgment of My wrath and holiness. This is the awesome resurrected Jesus Christ and it is tremendous!

When He says, "He has eyes like the flame of fire," guess what kind of gods were worshiped there? You know his name, Apollo was worshiped there and guess what kind of attribute it was said that Apollo had? Eyes of a flame of fire. Helios was worshiped there. What kind of feet did they say that Helios had? Take a guess? That's right, feet like brass. That is why Jesus says these things to the Church of Thyatira. Jesus is saying, listen up. "I am the Son of God, no one else! I've got the eyes, not them! I have the feet, not these pagan gods!" You see this kind of worship had crept into the church. Jesus is saying, "Let's set this straight. You belong to me and you need to know the truth!"

1 Corinthians 13:12 ~ "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face." 

That is when Christ comes or we go to Him. Then we will see Him face to face. Do you ever stop and think about that? When we stand before Him, we will see Him face to face. We will know Him as we are known. You and I are going to know God. People will often say when they get the opportunity to see God, they have quite a few questions for Him. You will not. You will know because God will give you the knowledge of what you need to know. Right now we look through a glass dimly, that is why God gives us the Bible so we could worship Him, obey God and love one another according to the Bible, not according to me, the church or anything else. What does God say? That is what we do!

A Christian is someone who by the power of the Holy Spirit, experiences God living His life out through us. Above all we Christians are the most shocked and surprised when anything awesome comes out of our lives because we know that is God doing the doing. It's like where did that come from? Thank You Lord because that was not in me. You know when someone cuts you off on the freeway and you come up along side them you say, "Praise the Lord, brother!" That's the Lord! I know what I can do.

He sees everything, that is the meaning of His eyes. Now we see that when God is in our life as an actual reality, it will be a healthy reality.

Revelation 2: 19 ~ "I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first."

When your Christianity is healthy, there will be obvious signs of life. According to Jesus those signs are (4) blood types, if you will of a healthy church.

1. I know your works, it is LOVE. This is agape love, the strongest and highest level of the Greek meaning of the word love. It is a active love, a verb that does, meaning practical affection and benevolence, unlike Ephesus, dead right in their Christianity. Sometimes people at church are the biggest bunch of huggers. It might seem weird. When people say they love you, they are saying it because it is a God thing. It's hard to explain to someone who isn't a Christian. We need to watch out that we aren't just saying things that are "Christianese." The church in Thyatira is an active church, they acted it out. If they saw someone in need, they would always stop. What do you do when you see someone who looks different from you. Would you stop? Jesus would and so would this church!
It creates such an opportunity to share your faith with someone in those circumstances because they would not be expecting it.

2. I know your works, it is SERVICE. The word here for service is "diakoni or diakonia, a church willing to attend to the needs of the body. It is where we get the word "Deacon."

3. I know your works, it is FAITH. The word here for faith is"pistis" meaning loyal, non spasmodic, but more and spiritual conviction, your desire for truth, your reliance on Christ for salvation, your consistency and assurance about Christ being your Savior. They really loved the Bible. They had loyalty to the Scriptures and would go to the church. But they left out certain Scriptures and substituted others which we will look at later.

4. I know your works, it is PATIENCE. The word here for patience is hupomone, meaning to take it when it's tough/ if you're cheerful and hopeful waiting for Jesus, your glad endurance. you're continuance at waiting for His return. They were busy about their Father's business. Living as if He could come at any moment. Paul the apostle was excited about the imminent return of Jesus Christ. Are you?

What kind of church are you, when He examines your confession of faith?

All these things are true if we were the church back in Thyatira and Jesus commends us for those things, but as He begins to examine our confession of faith, what does He find? I got to tell you, this petrifies me, because verse 20 tells us that we have to be diligent to teach the Word of God, line by line, precept upon precept, chapter by chapter, book by book. Here is the reason why,

He says, "I have a few things against you." Have you ever had someone tell you that "You're such a great worker." Have you ever been called into the bosses office? "I just want to tell you that your such a great worker. Have a seat." Look whenever your boss tells you to have a seat, I don't know if that is going to be good or bad, you know? You get a little tense. Because you know if its such great news, it's not going to take long. "Hey! How are you going? Come on it. Have a seat. You know you're love for this company is wonderful, you're an inspiration to many people around here. I just thought I'd let you know that. Your service, in fact, you know how a couple of weeks ago, you got the company service award? Fantastic! That's really great. I wish more employees were like you! And your faith in this corporation and what we do, what we make and what we stand behind, ah it's fantastic! Your patience? I know things have not always gone well for you, but you hung in there! With joy even! Excited as how things might turn around! Nevertheless...." Does any of that stuff matter now? Not a word! Most of us want the bad news up front. You know don't butter me up like a turkey, just cook me up front! Let me have it, I want to hear the bad news up front!

Here Jesus commends them to give them hope not to give them some false picture. With this we need to be diligent to preach the Word of God. Your blood types correlate with spiritual types, He is going to draw your blood and determine what is going on inside of you. We hope that our blood shows what is going on so we know what we can do to fix it. On Monday, we will finish up with our study into the Church of Thyatira and I hope you will join me.

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